Occupational health nurses should be looking beyond the point of a needle
when they advise travellers, according to Annie McCarthy senior travel health
nurse at medical charity Interhealth.
"Our overall aim is to maximise the traveller’s health and performance
and to minimise the risks," she said.
"The challenge for us is to be suitably motivated and qualified to do
this for all travellers on all aspects of travel hazards and be aware of the
implications of illness when they return.
Minimising risk and maximising health entails carrying out a detailed risk
assessment, having access to good information beyond databases and having an
empathy with the traveller, she suggested.
She outlined some of the latest updates on vaccination, and touched on some
of the other areas that OH advisers need to be aware of such as the physical
hazards of a destination, the climate, possibilities of accidents, HIV/AIDs,
culture shock and the psychological cost of travel.
The needs of the returning traveller were dealt with too, particularly in
relation to malaria. More than 2,000 cases a year are reported in Britain and
it is vital to emphasise to travellers that any fever should be reported within
eight hours, even if they think it is just a cold.